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Cyber Security Solutions: Shaping Railway Security Infrastructure Globally
Published Date: 05 Sep 2022

The growing internet penetration and automation techniques are taking over almost every industry & the transport sector is no exception, especially Railways. Today, as the lives of people have become significantly hectic, traveling and commutations across locations for work & leisure are prevalent. Metro & Rail networks with such comprehensive courage of mass transit have, in fact, become a substantial need across economies worldwide.

Perhaps, it is one of the many reasons why the governments of different countries are heavily investing in the construction & development of the rail infrastructure. Such an upgradation can be realized by incorporating cutting-edge technologies within the existing system.

With the digital transformation across sectors like railways, the overall user experience has improved extraordinarily, where they do not have to stand in long queues to inquire about certain trains or get their tickets booked. Even the live status of trains can be checked with just a single click. Thanks to digitization, making such operations & processes hassle-free. However, there are drawbacks to each. While digitalization has brought greater convenience, it has also paved the way for vulnerabilities to cybercrimes. 

Unlike earlier times when Railways were considered the safest, the introduction of remote handling within the system has made it vulnerable to various security threats in the form of malicious software intended to steal or manipulate the information technology system. Hence, the demand for railway cyber security solutions & technologies is elevating substantially throughout the globe. In fact, a recent research report reveals that the Global Railway Cyber Security Market is set to register a CAGR of around 9.5% during 2022-27.

What Exactly is Cybersecurity? What is its Role in the Railways?

Cybersecurity is a technology where solutions & services are offered to protect critical data from vulnerabilities of cybercrimes. The data can be present in electronic devices like computers, mobile phones, or complex systems like those used in aviation, railways, banking, power supplies, communication, and hospital, among other industries. 

There are several reasons why the railway sector is a prominent target for cyberattacks. Railways comprise large & complex networks demonstrating massive data storage, which is a prominent target for hackers. Moreover, as the world is rapidly moving toward the integration of advanced technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT) & Artificial Intelligence (AI) into the rail networks to enhance operational efficiency and procure real-time information, the vulnerabilities are hightened. While these aspects hint toward a greater risk of threats & attacks, the need to strengthen the security infrastructure using cybersecurity solutions is also widening and gaining swift traction worldwide and augmenting the industry expansion altogether. 

Which Region is More Vulnerable to Cyber Crimes in Railways?

Across different geographies worldwide, Asia-Pacific is anticipated to become a prominent consumer of cybersecurity solutions owing to the vast rail network in the region and higher possibilities of risks. Besides, a substantial population across countries like China & India uses rail transportation on a regualr basis, owing to which, the data generation is massive. Such parameters stimulate the demand for cybersecurity solutions and augment the entire industry across Asia-Pacific. 

Nonetheless, as countries like China, Japan, India, Singapore, & Indonesia are walking extra miles to enhance their Metro & Rail networks, the cyber security industry shall witness an upswing across the region during the forecast period. 

What is the Role of the Governments in Boosting the Railway Cyber Security Industry?

Cyber threats are not just damages to the sector or an organization but have the potential risk to the National Security of a country. Therefore, most countries are aggressively enhancing their IT system and investing substantially to boost the overall security infrastructure. In fact, several companies involved in cybersecurity solutions are backed by the governments of different countries to bring more advancements and effectiveness & contribute significantly to the industry & security. 

For instance, the Indian government declared plans to create six cyber cells for the Indian Railways nationwide, with the first one opening in Pune. This cell's duties include conducting several cyber-related investigations and keeping an eye on illicit internet ticketing, social media, & various cyber frauds. 

Likewise, the French National Agency for the Security of Information Systems (ANSSI) urges the utilization of unidirectional gateways rather than firewalls for linking railway switching systems to corporate networks. 

Nonetheless, the government of Singapore is also planning on the implementation of digital technology in transportation to materialize its vision of a "Smart Nation" as the most important pillar of a nation's economic development & transportation.

Wrapping up

With the widening demand for IoT security solutions coupled with growing cases of target-based cyberattacks & data breaches, security concerns are escalating substantially throughout the world. Such aspects are augmenting the demand for cybersecurity in railways and hinting toward an opportunistic future for prominent companies in the industry. 

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